Monday 29 June 2009

Woolfest report and pictures

I left for Woolfest on Thursday morning, the truck packed to the gunnel's. At one point I did think that I was going to have use the small sheep trailer as well, I had so much fibre to take with me. I met up with Phillippa, as arranged, at Scotch Corner cafe lay by. From there it's the long drive along the A66 to Cockermouth, thankfully with no problems. We finally arrived at 3.30 to find the car park to the action site already full of stallholders busy unpacking.

We'd decided to get some tables, put them up with some boxes on and then go and get a cup of tea. Stop again at 6 for tea, by which time we hoped we would have not much more arranging to the stall(s) to do.
At 7 o'clock I was stood with bags of fibre all around me with my head on my hands, wondering what to do next, when a very kind lady from the stall behind us, went and got us all a cup of tea. It's amazing what an effect a good cup of tea can do for you and it seemed as if all the fibre finally had a home .
This is what my stall looked like at 9pm on Thursday night

This is what Phillippa's stall looked like. As you can see we both had very colourful stalls. We always have stalls next door to each other with the centre gate removed so we can create one big stall for everyone to come a browse and buy from.

One thing we hadn't bargained for this year was a girder, right at the front of the stall, in the middle. So we used it as best we could and hung all sorts of things around it that we had to sell. On the whole it seems to have worked.

As compensation for the girder, we were able to use the cattle crush that was in front of the stall as extra hanging space. I think we used it to the best effect. When you looked down isle H, where we were, it certainly drew your eye to our stall.

Woolfest it's self when the paying public arrived, what can I say apart from the fact that is was very hectic and very warm.

I'd signed up for a drop spindle workshop on the Friday afternoon, at a time which is usually quiet, just after lunch, no such look, it was busy and I
had to rush off and leave Phillippa and her mum to man the stall.
The workshop was very informative and gave me loads of hints and tips on how to use a drop spindle. The hour went so quickly, and so did the rest of the afternoon, so much so we were still selling at 6pm, an hour after Woolfest had closed for the day.
A photo showing both our stalls.
As I was sleeping on site, in the truck I spent a great evening with Freyalyn and Mark, sat out chatting and drinking tea, that was after a quick glass of wine with fellow Shetland Sheep Breeder, Lenice, as she restocked her stall, something we all had been doing throughout the day, re-stocking.
Saturday seemed to start a little slower, but it soon picked up, as well as the temperature, I ended up borrowing a t-shirt from Phillippa's mum, I was so warm in my thin long sleeved top. Again the day just flew past, I was hoping to catch up and visit a few stall, but I just didn't have any free time. Despite the really warm weather, I sold a couple of aran jumpers I knitted, along with an alpaca scarf.
As I had so much fibre, I offered some of my Shetland Sheep batts to the Shetland Sheep Breeders stall for them to sell for me. I took half a dozen round, along with a couple of hand knitted jumpers in Shetland wool and thought no more about. A couple of hours later Joy appeared, could she have some more batts for the stall they'd sold out, a bit later she was back again for more. In the end I had to give them some of my shetland x corridale batts to sell. When I finally managed to see Joy, late on Saturday afternoon, they had sold 19 sheep batts and my 2 jumpers for me. Yet on my own stall the batts had hardly moved, strange?
It was gone 5pm before we finally managed to start and pack up and I hit the road home at 6, to hear from Tim that it was thick fog on the A19 and at home he'd had to endure 3 days of sea frets. I got to within 20 miles from Scotch Corner when I drove into the mist and from there on to home it was rain and thick mist. Not what I wanted after two hectic days. I finally got home at 9.15, took my cash, spinning wheel and phone out of the car, locked it up and crashed on the sofa with a glass of wine.
I will be going to Woolfest next year with Phillippa. This year had been worth all the effort of night spent dyeing fibre, carding fleece batts etc. Though on Friday afternoon I did manage to text a friend saying that I didn't want to see another customer, and to make them all go away!!!! Well I had been on the go since 6am, that and the heat was getting to be too much. I understand that on the Friday nearly 3000 people came through the doors, a record, and I suspect the same number on the Saturday, if my takings are anything to go by.
But I can't put my feet up as on Sunday it's my own guild's fibre day!!!!!!!!!

Sunday 28 June 2009

Woolfest was.........

fantastic, hard work and very, very warm.
Photos and details tomorrow as I have to work out how to download the photos I took from my mobile phone

Sunday 21 June 2009

Only 4 more sleeps to Woolfest...

and I'm past panicking, not!!!! This weekend I got the Alpaca felt labeled and packed away as well as the jumpers, hats, gloves and scarves.
But on Friday my doctor rang up to say he had 3 Teeswater fleeces for me, which he duly delivered at lunch time leaving Tim having to carry 3 very heavy fleeces up into the fleece store. Today as the weather was fine and sunny, ideal to look and sort out the fleeces, which on the whole were not too bad, but did need some serious dagging out. I also looked as the 2 Jacob fleeces I'd been given, they needed no work at all and I'm looking forward to spinning these 2. The second half of the Texal fleece I washed last week, got washed and dried today. I've already started to put this fleece through my carder in readiness for the Tour de Fleece start on the 5th July.
In the allotment garden Tim and the Resident Vandal got the fence posts in, ready to put the fence up. A short stretch of wire has been put up along with the gate, so it won't be long before the rest of the allotment is finally fenced. Today I planted out the leek plants all 120 of them, the french beans I re-sowed are starting to come through, the sweetcorn is growing strongly and I've realised that the first lot of sprout plants that I planted out could possible be planted too close together. I may have to thin them out, seems a shame, but if I don't, we may not many sprouts.
Tomorrow is a Wool Fair at Goathland, and the Teeswater's Society 60th Anniversary. Should be a good day and it will be good to relax and meet up the friends.
This coming week up to Thursday, will see me dashing around, madly packing all the sundry bits and pieces I think I will need besides the fleece, like pens, stock list, hole punch, blu tac, sellotape, string, money, signs, camera, cloths to cover the sales tables, chair, spinning wheel, the list is endless...........

Sunday 14 June 2009

The final lot of dyeing for Woolfest

This is the final lot of Alpaca tops, that has been Rainbow dyed. All weighed and labeled up ready to pack away for Woolfest.
This coming week will see me making the final labels for the stall, painting some display boxes and packing away the natural alpaca rovings, into the big bags, ready to pack into the back of the truck and decide what I'm going to do with the Alpaca felt. Any ideas greatly received...........

Tour De Fleece

I belong to a online group called Ravelry, it's a version of Facebook for anyone interested in spinning, knitting, weaving and dyeing. One of the groups on Ravelry is called "Tour De Fleece" and it runs during the Tour De France cycle race. The idea is that during the Tour de France you spin for at least 30 minutes a day, and I've joined the "Rookies Team" as this is my first Tour de Fleece

This is the fleece I will be spinning, it a Texal fleece, something I've never spun before
Here is a quarter of it, washed and drying this afternoon. It's not the softest of fleeces I've spun, but it certainly has some lovely staples. Not quite sure what I will do with the resulting fibre, I'm a but tempted to dye it a lovely purple colour. We shall see.
Tour de Fleece starts on the 5th July.

A lovely weekend

What a lovely weekend we've had. The forecast had been for rain on Saturday, but none arrived until now, Sunday evening and then only a light shower.
Tim managed to get a short run of wire fitted this week. I now means that the sheep can graze in an area near the large barn, once some hurdles are put across the gap between the lambing barn and this barn, we don't want them in this area all the time, but they might as well eat the grass down. Now the sheep can't get into the back of the main barn we can move the hurdles near and near to the house to graze the grass along the paddock and barn sides. Normally we try and run the topper over this area, but thought we would let the sheep graze it for a change.
On Saturday I had an urgent mole gassing job to do. I'd been out gassing on this farm in April, but because the grass was so long it was difficult to see the runs etc, so now that the farmer has taken his first cut of silage, any new mole activity can be quickly seen. It was a lovely 3 hour walk around the fields looking out to the sea.
To day I've been busy in the veg garden, it was in serious need of a good weed. It also gave me the opportunity to thin out the very young parsnip and beetroot plants. The winter onions have grown into quite big bulbs and it won't be long before I will be picking them. Holly and Deefa "helped" me with the weeding by sleeping in the grass and watching my every move. Holly has managed to find something very aromatic to roll in!!!!!! Showers required for both dogs!!!!

Sunday 7 June 2009

A busy weekend

Despite the forecast for this weekend not being very good, we seemed to get an awful lot done. The tiler finished the kitchen and utility room on Friday, so on Saturday the tiles were given a final polish, the work surfaces given a good clean, and the aga serviced and re lit. The under stairs cupboard given it's finally coats to paint, just the floor to paint then everything can be put back.
As it had rained so hard most of Saturday, we were unsure if we would be able to vaccinate the lambs, but as the day wore on, the rain eased and the sun came out, the lambs finally dried out.
Early this morning Tim and Deefa moved the ewes and lambs into the barn so that the lambs could be vaccinated and given a "nice drink" of wormer. After last year's problems we're playing safe this year and worming the lambs earlier, rather than later. It seems to have worked with Frea and Finn who are steadily gaining weight.
This afternoon I planted out the sweetcorn, cabbage and broccoli plants and re sown some more Dwarf French bean plants, as the ones that I've planted out are not doing too well. We've had a few very cold nights and I suspect one or two ground frosts.
In 3 weeks Woolfest will be over, I'm not quite sure whether to quietly panic or have a case of mass hysteria. I've still got 5 kilos of alpaca fibre to dye and with the arrival of a parcel of 15 alpaca felt sheets, which I'm not sure if I'm going to dye them all just a few. All I do know is that they will need cutting up into smaller squares and then labelling.
Tomorrow the final 9 of last year's lambs are going to the abattoir as we've managed to sell the meat for several people's freezers. We were going to keep them until after they had been sheared, but as their fleeces are not up to the standard I need for selling, they are on there way.
Talking of fleeces, on Thursday I helped out at a neighbouring farm with the shearing, I ended up wrapping 130+ fleeces. I did manage to "snaffle" 4 fleeces into the back of my car, a Texel, a couple of Blue Faced Leicesters and a Masham. Should keep me quiet for a while!!!!

Thursday 4 June 2009

The veg plot has new beds

I got home last night to find that Scooby had been and rotovated the new veg plot, we call the allotment, and Tim had started to add the new deep beds.

The above photo is taken looking up the allotment

This one shows Deefa inspecting the work so far

Tonight this is how the allotment looks now, with 4 new beds in place. Tim has 4 more beds to make and then we can put them in place, making 10 beds in all. There is a fence to round the area, so we can graze some of the sheep in here, and as you can see from the photos, the grass is quite long in this area now. I'm hoping to get my sweetcorn, cabbages and broccolli planted out over the next few days. Weather permitting.